As Christmas Day 2017 draws to a close, I am thankful for the memories made and the blessings of family. Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of year. I love the traditions, family time and giving just the right gift....but things were different this year. It was the first Christmas since the separation. The first Christmas since my firstborn got married. The first Christmas morning that I had to work.
As the kids and I talked about what Christmas would look like this year, there were many traditions that we knew would continue. Some would include their Dad and some would not. We wanted to include the newlyweds in as much as possible but also wanted them to have the freedom to spend time as a couple making their own Christmas memories.
We enjoyed a great Christmas dinner together on Christmas Eve. All 7 of us sitting around the table eating, laughing and talking. It looked like so many other Christmas dinners from the past. The table was set with the Magnolia dishes. One of the few nice things we bought as a young married couple. We've lost a plate and cup along the way. But that dish set has survived 4 wild kids, two decades of holiday meals, and at least a dozen moves.
For that hour of the day, it was like the turmoil of our circumstances didn't exist. For a brief moment I forgot about the pain of the past 10 months. We were practicing in real time what we had been reading about in our Advent devotionals.....the unstoppable, unbeatable love of God. Just like the baby that was born in a stinky messy stable, God's love meets us in the messy muck of our lives and forever changes us.
After dinner, their Dad left and the kids and I went to the Christmas Eve service at our old church. It was so great to be there and see so many friends who are like family to us. I heard over and over again that we were loved, missed and prayed for. Being there with all 5 of my kids was an amazing gift that overwhelmed me with joy. No matter what is going on in my life, centering our focus around Christ is what Christmas will always be about for me.
Towards the end of the service the worship leader sang a song that I love and the tears began to fall. The song is "Somewhere in Your Silent Night" by Casting Crowns. Every time I hear that song it speaks so deeply to my broken heart. Here are some of the lyrics:
Somewhere in your silent night
Heaven hears the song your broken heart has cried
Hope is here just lift your head
For love has come to find you somewhere in your silent night.
From heaven's height to manger low
There is no distance that the Prince of Peace won't go
From manger low to Calvary's hill
When your pain runs deep
His love runs deeper still
Christmases may be different from now on but God's gift of love will never end. Our traditions may change but the reason that we celebrate will not. In the midst of joy, heartbreak and gratefulness I have hope for what is to come. Hope for healing, forgiveness and continued peace.
Christmas 2017 was a different kind of Christmas but I cherished each moment and I am so in awe of all that God did for me during the season. And technically it's not quite over yet. We're now in Georgia spending the next few days celebrating with extended family.
I hope that you were able to enjoy the season with your friends and family. And no matter what level of dysfunction you identify with, just remember that Jesus meets us right in the middle of the mess and carries us through.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.